The superficial do-gooder impulse is eviscerated with spot-on satire in "LolliLove," a chuckle-packed and satisfyingly tasteless mockumentary in which a prosperous young Hollywood couple (real-life spouses Jenna Fischer and James Gunn) endeavor to help the homeless. Cheerfully incorporating their own wedding footage and we're-dead-serious-but-just-kidding personas, Fischer and Gunn are the bantamweight Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes of their generation.

The superficial do-gooder impulse is eviscerated with spot-on satire in “LolliLove,” a chuckle-packed and satisfyingly tasteless mockumentary in which a prosperous young Hollywood couple (real-life spouses Jenna Fischer and James Gunn) endeavor to help the homeless. Cheerfully incorporating their own wedding footage and we’re-dead-serious-but-just-kidding personas, Fischer and Gunn are the bantamweight Gena Rowlands and John Cassavetes of their generation. Compact and irreverent pic is a treat for anyone who’s ever looked askance at celeb altruism, as well as fans of Fischer (“The Office”) and Gunn (“Slither”).

Helmer and co-scripter Fischer nails the condescending vapidity, manufactured drama and ludicrous self-importance of reality shows and you-are-there TV docs via quasi-candid tube portrait of protags and their charity project.

Eager to atone for their own good fortune by “giving something back to the community,” the couple settles on homelessness because other causes have been “done to death” or prove impractical.  The Gunns’ objective is to make Los Angeles a better place by handing out lollipops to homeless individuals; each sucker will be adorned with an uplifting slogan and James’ original artwork.

The “art” may look cartoonish, but it takes a lot out of James. He compares the intensity with which he gives of himself to the struggles of another beacon of personal sacrifice, emphasizing that “The only difference is that Jesus is a completely made-up guy and I’m real.”

After many a business and showbiz acquaintance declines to underwrite the cause, James and Jenna find a corporate sponsor.  But as their selfless dream takes shape, the division of labor strains their picture-book marriage.  And given compulsive hand-scrubber James’ hyper-sensitivity to germs, maybe working with the hygienically-challenged isn’t ideal.

Thesps never falter in their deadpan delivery. Excerpts from each spouse’s “LolliLove diary” play up the eternal gap between female and male concerns.

Churning bed of generic music is right on smarmy target.  Overall look is fitting on a budget of a few thousand bucks.

Lollilove

Production

A Troma Team release of a Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz presentation of a LolliLove production. (International sales: Troma, New York.) Produced by Stephen Blakehart. Executive producer, James Gunn. Co-producer, Troy DeVolld. Directed by Jenna Fischer. Screenplay, Fischer, Peter Alton.

Crew

Camera (color), Alton; editor, Alton; music, Alton, Willie Wisely; sound (Dolby), Noah Blough, Richard Burton; associate producer, Dan Golding; assistant director, Andrew J. Stratmann. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 24, 2006. Running time: 65 MIN.

With

James Gunn, Jenna Fischer, Linda Cardellini, Jason Segel, Judy Greer, Sarah Sido, Jennifer Eolin, Larry Fitzgibbon, Michelle Martin, Bill McCormack, Joan Blair, Lloyd Kaufman.
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